Bold Baking Basics

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4.86 from 7 votes
My Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is silky smooth, salty sweet, and incredibly easy to make.
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream on top of four cupcakes.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: A smooth, fluffy, silky Swiss meringue buttercream recipe with a dreamy salted caramel flavor. Like other buttercream recipes, this is a quick & simple topping for your favorite cakes & cupcakes — and I’ll show you how to be successful each and every time.

A good Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is a must-have for bakers — and this salted caramel Swiss meringue is one of my favorite variations. The caramel flavor is perfect for classing up some chocolate cupcakes or decorating a show-stopping cake!

My homemade Swiss meringue comes out perfectly silky and smooth every time — that isn’t too overly sweet, unlike its sweeter cousin, traditional buttercream, and is never gritty like other recipes, as there is no powdered sugar involved. 

This lighter-than-air frosting comes out amazing every time, so don’t be intimidated by the idea of making a meringue buttercream! This recipe is foolproof, and it all starts with some homemade caramel.

What Is Swiss Meringue Buttercream?

Swiss meringue buttercream is likely what you’ll find in most professional pastry kitchens, and it gets its name because it starts with a Swiss meringue base. Because it uses cooked sugar, it’s much silkier than traditional buttercream.

A close-up of Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream on top of a cupcake.

What Is The Difference Between Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Italian Buttercream, and Traditional Buttercream?

Buttercream is a mixture of sugar and butter that has been creamed together to make a frosting. The main difference between Swiss meringue buttercream and traditional American buttercream is that Swiss meringue uses cooked sugar, whereas American buttercream uses powdered sugar. American buttercream is sweeter than Swiss meringue buttercream, and the Swiss-style will have a stronger butter flavor. American buttercream is also not as stable and will form a crust when it sits out, while Swiss meringue stays smooth and creamy. 

Italian buttercream is similar to Swiss meringue buttercream, except that you pour the hot sugar syrup into egg whites as they are being whipped, which some bakers find a bit intimidating, as opposed to heating the two ingredients together.

Can You Make Swiss Buttercream Ahead?

Yes! You can make Swiss buttercream ahead of when you need it. This buttercream will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months. Just be sure to bring it back to room temperature and give it a quick re-beat before using.

Tools You Need To Make Salted Caramel Swiss Buttercream

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  •  Small saucepan
  • Double boiler or a saucepan and a heatproof bowl
  • Stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer

The texture of Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Watch the sugar carefully when making the caramel, and keep the cream nearby. To get the best caramel flavor, you want the sugar to get as dark as possible before adding the cream to stop the cooking, but it can go from dark to burnt in a matter of seconds!
  • Make sure the caramel is completely cooled before adding it to the buttercream.
  • This recipe does not need a thermometer: Egg whites pasteurize at 132° F (56°C), and the sugar will melt when the whites reach 160°F (71°C), so once the mixture does not feel gritty, you know the eggs are safe.
  • The butter needs to be softened to room temperature but still slightly cool to properly incorporate into the egg whites.
  • Make sure that your egg white are completely cool before adding the butter.
  • This buttercream is terrific with my Best Ever Chocolate Cake or cupcakes.

More Recipes!

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Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

4.86 from 7 votes
My Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is silky smooth, salty sweet, and incredibly easy to make.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 3 cups
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
cool for 30 minutes
My Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is silky smooth, salty sweet, and incredibly easy to make.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 3 cups


  • 10 tablespoons (5oz/142g) plus 10 tablespoons (5oz/142g) granulated sugar divided
  • ¼ cup (2floz/60ml) water
  • cup (2 ½floz/75ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cups (12oz/341g) unsalted butter (softened to slightly cooler than room temperature and diced)


  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add 10 tablespoons (5oz/142g) of the granulated sugar and the water. Bring to a boil without stirring.
  • Boil the mixture for 5-7 minutes, until it turns a dark amber color and begins to smell a little smoky.
  • Immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the heavy cream to stop the cooking. (Note: It will bubble up.) Stir until smooth and any hardened sugar dissolves. Transfer to a small bowl, then stir in the vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool.
  • Bring a double boiler to a simmer. Place the egg whites and the remaining 10 tablespoons (5oz/142g) of granulated sugar in the double boiler and whisk for 4-5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture no longer feels gritty when a small amount is rubbed between your fingers.
  • Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld electric mixer). Whip on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks and has cooled completely to room temperature.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until fully incorporated and fluffy.
  • Beat in the caramel until just combined.
  • Use the frosting straight away or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months. Bring up to room temperature on the counter for a few hours and re-beat before using.
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1 month ago

Haven’t started yet but wanted to see if I can ask two questions first.
1) I am trying to match a specific color so I want a deep, deep caramel color in the frosting. Should I double the amount of caramel I make? What do you suggest?
2) When I’ve done a Swiss buttercream recipe in the past, it tasted too much like butter and not enough like a sweet frosting. Is that merely about the amount of butter vs sugar in one recipe vs another?
Thank you!

Darren Scott Palmer
Darren Scott Palmer
1 year ago

My first attempt was an epic fail. It became soup when I added the butter. It was completely cool when I started. Stiff peaks. Beat for almost 10 mins. ?

Judith Hobson
Judith Hobson
2 years ago

We can’t get heavy/double cream here. Will this work with whipping cream?

2 years ago

Why don’t you have a link so we can save your wonderful recipes on Pinterest?

2 years ago

Do you have a video for this?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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